Thursday, January 31, 2013

What We Have Been Up To!

The game of the week has been Antarctica!
 They've been learning about the continents and are a bit obsessed with Antarctica.

They have also been playing "chef"
They pour water and spices and stir it all up.
I got this idea from my Aunt Amy....and they LOVE it!

Lots of Fun and Playtime at home!

We have been busy with school.

The big excitement this week was finishing our first Math book for the year.  
Halfway done! 


So much work!


Lots of Basketball....Just this week we have had 8 games and 3 practices~
My kids love basketball.....I am
READY for Basketball season to wrap up!!!

We have been cooking...

Sipping Cocoa

 These two little girls have become best buddies.  I love how they love each other.  Very Sweet!!!

Busy weekend ahead.  Looking forward to spending it with friends and family.  Also looking forward to CLEANING THE HOUSE!!!!  It is a MESS!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I think about stuff like sanctification, more and more these days.  It is such a journey.  I have so far to go and mess up so much.  I so want to BE have arrived.  I think it is the dailiness of it that gets me!  I mean if my house would stay neat, if my kids would love one another, if they would act properly, if Randy could read my would be so much easier and I would be so much better behaved! I said I have a lot of work.

The message Dr. Davis gave at church yesterday was such an encouragement and prompting and convicting to me.  All the messages are....

Then I noticed my kids and it occurred to me that they too are on this journey.  They have not arrived.  They are not why do I want them to behave as if they are?  Well....obviously because it would make my life easier....and that is the goal after all.  NOT!

I was encouraged though.  There is growth.  As they were taking their notes....which I love.....Jackson looked over to copy some of Sophie's notes.  I felt the butterflies.  I got nervous.  My chest tightened and my pulse quickened.  My girl and my boy....don't get along very well.  I thought here it comes.  She is going to cover her paper.  He is going to try to uncover it.  I'm going to try to get them to JUST BEHAVE before a wrestling match breaks out in the pew and the paper flies over the balcony.  Then my eye caught it.  A sweet moment.  A sister smiling sweetly at her little brother and willingly letting him look on.  Even pointing to where he should write it on his paper. is sweet to see the work of Christ in your child's life.  So sweet!  Growth!  LOVE IT!!!  Praise the Lord.  A heart of stone becoming a heart of flesh.  PRECIOUS.

Now don't get me wrong.  Life is still dicey around here.  Just last night the simple instruction, "brush your teeth and go get in bed."  erupted into tears, talking back, knocking things over, an unnamed I'll take the victories when they come, because the battle rages on!

Just had to share the sweet notes Lydia took at church today.  She was really listening.  I love her picture.  Dr. Davis was sharing the scripture and said how the lions couldn't get onto the highway and that the end of the highway....was glorification.  I don't know if you can see but Lydia's picture has a little cloud at the end with 2 little stick figures standing on the cloud.  Those lions don't look too ferocious!  Blesses my heart to know at least some of the truth is being heard.  Praying for fertile soil in their hearts...... seeds are being sewn!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Funnies!

My children have kept me rolling lately.  Which I appreciate especially on long, cold, wet, winter days when I just want to go outside and play!

I often feel like I live in the movie Groundhog Day.  Each day can be very much the same.

So laughter is always a welcome distraction!

Recently, when we were on a quick errand to Target, we rushed by the lingerie section.  I was on a mission to find toothpaste and trying to keep up with the crew.  When Audrey stopped and pointed at a particularly risque pair of undergarments yelled, " that is just going too far......going way too far!"  We all agreed as we erupted in laughter. 

Last week we had a tough week with the funerals.  So we all had a hearty laugh when Jackson ran up to my Dad right before the second funeral and informed him that " Pa- Andrew has been planning your funeral!!!".  After a good laugh we assured Pa that Andrew was NOT planning his funeral, but had just been impressed with the wonderful eulogy Pa had given for Granny and was making mental notes so he could one day give just as wonderful a eulogy as Pa had.  Whew!

I'll share one last funny.  Just the other day we were driving home from dropping Lincoln off and I had just Jackson with me.  So in an effort to have meaningful conversation with him I asked him if he would like to be a dad one day.  He gave a resounding, "YES!!!"  I asked him how many children he would like to have and be answered decidedly with, "20 BOYS!"  "Wow!"  I said, "If they are anything like you, you're going to have your hands full!"  As soon as I responded that way I realized I probably should have been kinder.  I have had my hands FULL with him lately and responded without thinking.  He really is a sweet, ENERGETIC, loud, 100% BOY, boy!  He replied without missing a beat, "No my children are going to be well mannered and well trained like my wife ___________________(here he inserted a sweet little girl we knows name)."  Bless. Her. Heart!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It was an emotional, exhausting, sad, long week last week.  Whew.....Very grateful we had a long weekend.  I needed Monday to catch my breath.  It was nice having Randy home. He ran Andrew to his Orthodontist appointment and Sophie to her Oral Surgeon Consult. I was able to work with the little ones on all the school that didn't get done last week!  So nice to be able to get back on track.

This week I'm feeling really loved.  I have been the recipient of so many sweet facebook and email messages.  I have had such sweet phone calls, cards, texts, and face to face conversations.  I have had friends who have helped get my kids where they have needed to be.  Sweet friends that came to one or BOTH of the funerals.  Wow!  

Sisters in Christ have blessed us with freezer meals, delicious foods, PIZZA, ice cream treats!

I feel so blessed and loved.  I know people are praying.  What precious friends I have.

Women and Couples have spent time with us.  My friend let me hang out on her couch and just get away from my house and vent.  They hung out with me at Co-op and let me pour out my heart.  They have gone out to dinner with us and let us just......... be.  They have come to our kids basketball games and just been our friends.

Friendship is a blessing.

I am loved.
Thank You!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Wow.....all I can say is wow!  This week was a tough one.  Saying goodbye to Granny was hard, but I was not at all prepared for today.  As we were driving to the funeral, I got a call from my sister.  She was acting weird.  She asked where we were?   When were we going to be at the church?  Who was with me?  Was I driving?  Finally....I said, "What is going on?"  Her reply was unbelievable.  She said Papa was found dead in his yard this morning.  What?  I wasn't hearing her right.  I just sat next to him on the couch a few hours ago.  He just teased me about how I told everyone I was his favorite.  He just told the whole crowd of extended family about how beautiful my family was.  He just said he loved me.  He can't be dead.  He said last night he was planning to live to be a 110.  So much for man's plans!

What happened?  He had walked to his car and driven down to the end of the road to get his paper as was his morning routine.  He had gone back inside.  His paper was on the table.  Then he had walked back outside.  Apparently to get his keys which were on his car seat.  His walker was standing beside him on the sidewalk.  No trauma.  His walker didn't topple.  No struggle.  Just laying on the grass dead.  The first responders say it was probably a heart attack......I'd say a broken heart.

He loved Granny.

 He's loved her for over 67 years.  She was his world.  I never heard them argue. I'm sure they did.....but that was not the tone of their relationship. They went through some dark days.  They lost a son.  They lost two grandchildren.  They had financial hardships.  They moved from everything and everyone they knew and cobbled together a life, a home, a family.   I always heard them speak lovingly of each other.  They built each other up.  They were not perfect but their love was special.  Unique.  Rare.  It really is God's mercy that they are together again.  They really wanted to celebrate their 67 anniversary is later this month.....and we thought they wouldn't be able to.  They will.  I bet Granny was surprised to see him there!

I can see God's hand and his goodness all over this situation.  He is so real.  He cares about the details of life.  I am sad.  I loved my Papa.  I was so proud of him. 

He was a war hero.  He was bigger then life to me.  He was faithful to the end.  He spent every single night with Granny, while she was in the hospital and hospice.  And we are talking months not weeks.  He slept in the hospital recliner....and later at hospice he had a cot beside her bed.  That is love.  He gave up his comfort to be with his beloved.  As the minister said today, and I have often thought, Nicolas Sparks had nothing on my Granny and Papa's love story.

Papa was a hard worker.  He loved his family.  He was so proud of his children.  He thought Mama and Tommy hung the moon.  He loved when his great-grandchildren would give him hugs.  He adored his grandchildren.  Each and every one of us.  I told everyone when I was a little girl that I was his favorite.  My cousins would get so mad at me.  He loved to tell that story.  He told it about 5 times last night!  I snuggled up right beside him and I drank it up.  I cherished it.  I didn't know it would be my last time in his arms.  I felt like his favorite.  But the truth is we were all his favorites.  He loved us all the best.  My heart aches.  I am grieving.

I hurt thinking about my Mama.  She doesn't have a Mama and Daddy here anymore.  I can't even imagine.  What do you do without a Mama and a Daddy?  I know the truth she would speak.  You run to Jesus.  He is her father.  You find shelter in his wing.  You celebrate the time you had with them.  You grieve and you hope.  My Mama said today, "and by hope I mean assurance".  YES!  So glad Mama knows the truth.  People said today, this is too much.  It is a lot.  But the truth is God measured it out.  He portioned it out.  He allowed it.  He is good.  Life is hard.  It is painful.  Mama has said many times: great sorrow is evidence of great love.  So yes, the sorrow tonight is great.....but the love they showered over us in this lifetime was also great.  Very great.

Thankful for the prayers.  Thankful for the legacy Granny and Papa lived out over my entire life. Thankful for their daughter who is a product of such love, hard work, faithfulness.  She is their child.  Grateful for God's mercy.

 I love the song Blessings and I can't help but think of the lyrics:

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

This hurts.  This is sad and will take time to process but this is the end of a beautiful love story that I watched play out over my lifetime.  Sad to see this chapter end.....but so glad the next chapter is so much better!  It really is a happy ending.  It just hurts to say goodbye.  Like I said about Granny though, it is just a goodbye for now!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

After Christmas Weight Update

So....What a month it has been.  I have been to tea parties, Christmas parties, family dinners, restaurant dinners, and trips to the beach.  Not to mention all the baking I did and all the baking I was a recipient of!!!  YUMMY!   I have eaten well......honestly probably a bit too well!  My favorite holiday treat had to be the meringues at Emma's tea....followed closely by the scones with homemade whipped cream.  I also enjoyed mashed potatoes, apple pie, cookies, broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, hush puppies, barbecue......OK I better stop now!  I don't want you to get the wrong idea, I did not eat mindlessly through the holidays....but I did eat.  I had promised myself at the beginning of the season....whatever happened....I was in this for the long haul.  I was going to write down EVERYTHING I ate.....the good, the bad, the ugly!  I did it!  I was nervous because I ate a LOT!

However, not all my food indulgences ended up being bad.  I discovered two wonderful treats this month that I am incorporating in my life: brussel sprouts and tea!  I had obviously had both before, but now I want them to be a part of my life.  Tea is now a daily indulgence for me.  It is calorie free....I add a packet of Splenda and it is warm, sweet deliciousness!  Chocolate Strawberry is still my favorite but it is followed closely by Sugar Plum Spice and Sugar Cookie.  I decided there is absolutely no reason for me to wait a whole year to enjoy the beauty of tea!  It has become a highlight of my morning and afternoon.  Brussel sprouts were never on my list of favorite foods.  I pretty much disliked them.  Then my sister, Stacy, cooked them for me.  FRESH, on the oven, in a bit of butter= WONDERFUL!  Seriously, they are now one of my new favorite foods!  We had them over Christmas and then I asked her to make them for Dad's birthday.  I gobbled up two big helpings both times!!!

Now the saving grace of my weight loss endeavors this month was exercise.  I worked out a lot.  With all I was eating I had to!  I worked out almost every single day.  I did take Christmas off and a few other days that I was super sore from running BUT I also did a few EXTRA HARD workouts.  I blew my former 410 calorie workout out of the water with a killer 640 calorie half elliptical and half running workout.  Randy is really close to 1,000 calorie workout.  AMAZING!

My exercise highlight of the month without a doubt has been running.  I started on the beach but I have continued at home.  I LOVE it.  It is a bit rough on my left side joints....especially my hip and I don't do it  everyday.....but I want to everyday.....which is crazy....because I thought I hated exercising!

I was nervous about seeing the results-because last Tuesday Weight Watchers was closed so I couldn't weigh in.  So my monthly weight loss total was........ only 3.2 pounds.  Not great.  But I will take it.  I only averaged .8 pounds a week this month.  Which is way under my overall 1.9 per week total.  But during the meeting last night I learned the average American weight gain in December is 5-7 I left feeling much better.  I certainly didn't gain weight!  So the scale is still creeping in the right direction!  My total weight loss is 56.2 pounds in just over 6 months!  Praise the Lord! His word brought conviction and that has brought change.  It's not a diet.  It's learning to treat God's temple the way I should have treated it all along.  I have been lazy and I have been over-indulgent and that is not God honoring.  It is still a daily struggle to put to death the sin of gluttony and the sin of laziness.  I tend toward the path of least resistance.  I am weak, but HE is strong!

Now for a funny.  I was filling out some forms for a child of mine and one of the questions was asking if either parent had ever been diagnosed with a learning disability (I know it is PC to say difference and I am trying to learn but when I was coming along we called them bear with me its part of my story)  I wasn't sure so I called my mom.  I asked her if I had ever been diagnosed with a learning disability.  She paused, seemed puzzled, and said, "No I don't think so."  Then she said, "I've never heard of that."  I was like seriously?  You've never heard of a learning disability.  She said, "You always hated running, even when you were on the track team...but I don't think you were diagnosed with a running disability."  I LAUGHED SO HARD!!!!  After I clarified what I had said she had a good laugh too! 

All laughing aside...this girl who has hated running and exercising is changing.  It has taken 6 months of going through the motions....but I am actually starting to want to run.  I still hate the elliptical.  But running disability or not......this girl likes to run.  I am slow, have terrible technique, and so far to go....but at least I have something to work towards!

Still plugging away!

PS Randy is doing really well still too, but he's at work and I don't have his stats available.  He's also been bitten by the running bug.  He got jealous when I ran on the beach and had to start too :) I'm really impressed with him!  He ROCKS!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013


My Granny.....I just can't imagine life without her.  I had laid down for a nap on Sunday after visiting with Granny.  I drifted off to sleep and then I jumped awake with a panic.  Granny is dying.  She is going to be gone.  I just don't want her to die.  Even a long life....a full life.....seems so tragically short now.  In the past I would have nursed my pain with a big ole bowl of ice cream and stayed in bed....but instead I jumped up, I ran 3 miles, I cried my eyes out, prayed, and came home and measured out a half a cup of ice cream and watched my kids and my man play teatherball.  Learning to feel the pain.  Learning to let it out not stuff it inside. 

Granny always has had a word of encouragement.  She loved that I home schooled.  She was a spitfire!  I got it honest!  She was always a joker.  Every family gathering featured a new joke from Granny.   She was a self-described "yellow dog democrat".   Always had a kind word.  She loves me and I love her. I remember visiting them as a little girl in the big, white, farm house with the pretty crystal doorknobs.  I remember her yummy hot cereal.  I remember playing "hide the rock."  I remember our special nickname, "nerdy".  Ohh.... I just don't want to say goodbye.  Yet time is nearing. 

I think I may have heard her voice for the last time on Friday.  She quietly with tears in her eyes named each of her grandchildren and children and told those of us present how much she loved us and that she wanted us to know "whether we are on the track team or not (that is a whole other story)....she is so proud of us."  She then told us to make sure we passed the message along to those not there.  She is still alive but she hasn't really been awake for a few days.   What a blessing to have her speak such loving words of affirmation over us.  It will be a moment I will cherish for a lifetime. 

Another precious snapshot of this time will be of my Papa laying on a cot sleeping beside Granny's hospice bed.  67 years of marriage and still together.  Papa has been Granny's roommate from rehab, to the hospital, and on to hospice.  He loves Granny.  He is always by her side. 

And my Mama has shown me again about love.  She is faithfully by her mothers side day in and day out.  She gives Granny sips of Coke.  She even ran out and got Granny a Starbucks coffee when Granny decided she wanted to try, "one of those fancy coffees Mama drinks."  She talks to Granny.  She makes sure Granny is getting excellent care.  She juggles all the questions from us about how Granny is.  She washes Granny's face. She lines up people to sit with Granny when she isn't able to.   She has loved and cared for Granny so well.  She has sacrificed ENORMOUSLY of her time, and done so with such grace.  She quoted a dear friend of hers who has been through losing her mother and said, "you only get one shot at this and I want to do it well."  Well she has done it well.  Very well. 

It hurts.  This feels like a long and slow goodbye.  However, it is not really goodbye.  It's just goodbye for now.  Granny is a believer.  So there will be a joyous reunion one day.  In the meantime.  I will miss her. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year and My Resolutions and My Heart

I can't believe it is a new year!  I have a half written Christmas blog and a half written year in review blog....and haven't posted in a long time....and now it's time for the New Years Resolution Post! I'm so behind with other posts and my heart is so filled with other things.

I'll say this....this year was once again not what I expected.  We started out the year with Randy still hunting for a job and a lot of unanswered questions.  Here we are a year later and Randy has a new job that he loves.  We are members at a new church....which I NEVER foresaw happening.  We have lost touch with relationships that I thought would stand the test of time and we have developed close relationships with people I once considered acquaintances.  It's funny looking back and seeing how little we really control.  My life script it very different then I would have written it, yet I LOVE where we are and who we are becoming.  Has it been painful?  VERY.  Has it been worth it?  Without a doubt. (Sorry I'm laughing now because Andrew and Randy get a kick out of when I ask myself questions and answer them for myself too :)

Another HUGE change this year has obviously been the physical changes in our lives.  Randy weighs almost 70 pounds less then last year and I weigh 56 pounds less.  Who would have thunk it?  Yet even with all this my heart is breaking. 

I'm losing my Granny.  She has lived a long, full, life and is a believer.  She is sick and she is suffering and she is ready to go home.  Yet I don't want her to leave.  I love her.  I don't know if it will be days, or weeks, or months, but the story of her life is ending and it hurts.  She is a saint.  Every memory I have of her is precious.  She is a kind and steady soul. A rock.   And my Papa, her husband of 67 (I think) years, is still doing well physically but he is changing.  Dementia is an ugly disease.  Those two have taught me about love, hard work, struggle, faithfulness......and I don't want to say goodbye. 

My heart is not breaking only for Granny and Papa but also for Randy's sister.  Some heartaches hit too close to home....and this is one of them.  It has been a ROUGH start to the year but I KNOW GOD IS FAITHFUL.  I was sharing some of my heart with Randy the other day and how I long to have resolution.  I want everything to be okay.  I want to deal with things and move on.  Yet as we talked I remembered.....there is beauty in the ashes.  A quick burn....just leaves a scar.  The journey of losing.....painfully.....often slowly where there is enough burning to create ashes and the beauty comes from the long burn.  The beauty is in the ashes.  Life is painful.  It is hard to understand.  Glad I know truth.  Anxious to see it revealed in God's perfect and sovereign plan.  I pray even now for soft hearts and that I will be a good student.  I want to learn the Master's lessons well.  This one.....hurts.....bad.

So sorry for blubbering...... my heart is often healed through the pouring out on these pages.  Thank you for indulging me.  SO....on to my resolutions.....

1.  To better train my children in healthy and holy disciplines.  These are three fold.  First to manage money well.  I want to intentionally model saving, tithing, and healthy spending for my kids and I want to give my children their own money to practice saving, tithing, and spending themselves.  Secondly, I want to teach them to exercise.  I want to model working out in a healthy way and encourage (or require) that they also spend a portion of their day exercising.  This can be basketball practice, dance lessons, bike riding, swimming, jogging, jump roping, JUST DANCE.....really anything that makes them sweat.  I want them to see the fun and enjoyment they can have while caring for their bodies.  Thirdly, I want to model and require personal devotional time for my oldest two.  I want this to be short and sweet.  I want them to spend time building their own relationships with the Lord.

2.  To read the Bible to my children.  In its entirety.  It may end up taking more then a year.  I do not want to be legalistic.  However I do want to do it.  I can think of nothing better for them to hear.  I do not want them to leave our home without hearing the whole of Gods word.  I want it to be a balm to their souls and a measuring stick for their lives.  I want them to know the truth.  The truth will set them free. My vision involves this taking place at various times while drinking Sugarplum Fairy tea.  Because tea is just good and encourages slowing down and lingering I want to slow down, linger, and feast on God's word and I want them to hear it from my mouth to their sweet ears.  Let it never be said that my children did not hear the gospel. 

3.  To feed my family better.  I want to eat a lot less fast food.  Except periodic Friday's at Chick-fil-a, cause that it just good for the soul.  I want to feed them less processed foods for breakfast and lunch and make more foods from ingredients.  I am good at doing this for dinner but lunch is often a hot dog, frozen pizza, nuggets and breakfast is often frozen waffle's and sometimes even pop tarts.....I want to do better.

4.  Continue to take care of myself.  I feel so good physically and mentally.  I don't ever want to go back.  The journey ahead is long.  But the road behind me is long too.  I love feeling good.  I love shopping in regular stores.  I love running.  I love being happy.  I love endorphins. 

So life is not peachy.  My heart is breaking.  But I am proud of where I am.  I am changing and the changes are good.  I feel good physically.  I am growing spiritually.  So I'll take it.  Who in the world knows what 2013 holds.  I am so glad to know that anything that happens in 2013 must first be filtered through the hands of a sovereign, loving, Savior and King who will ONLY allow what is for my good and for his glory.  He is good.  Even when life is not.